Last week’s post was about my journey to San Antonio to meet, for the first time, my new friends from the Military Writers Society of America, and to pick up their prestigious award for my novel The Oath. This week I want to share with you some of my experiences with the MWSA.
As I said in my blog last week, the MWSA is comprised of interesting and talented people. What I forgot to tell you is what good people they are. Just one example among many: Bob Doerr, the Society’s Veep, and a half-dozen members arrived in San Antonio a day early to put on a free, all-day writing seminar at the Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital. And this was not just a random act of kindness on the Society’s part. Besides sponsoring workshops at other VA facilities nationwide, members are encouraged to donate copies of their books to VA hospitals near where they live.
The 2017 Military Writers Society of America Conference itself featured two days of discussions on various topics. I was invited to contribute to a panel whose title was: “I’ve Written My Book – Now What?” It provided experiences and thoughts by some of us who’ve written books and asked ourselves “what the heck should I do next?” I mostly kept my mouth shut and learned from a very experienced group of panelists/writers: Kathleen M. Rodgers, best-selling author of Seven Wings to Glory and The Final Salute; John D. Trudel, himself a best-selling author of Raven’s Run and The Lone Wolf Agenda; and last, but certainly not least, panel moderator Don Helin, a 2017 MWSA winner for his mystery/thriller Angel’s Revenge. I’m mentioning these books because I think you should put them on your “to read” list. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
As Don noted, the period after completing the manuscript is one of the most frustrating times for writers. And John stated, “I think it easier these days to get published, but much harder to become visible, to get noticed.” Even Kathleen noted that “despite my 40+ years in the writing business, I still feel like a beginner every time I sit down to work.”
The last night of the conference was highlighted by the awards banquet. MWSA recognizes and awards authors in a variety of genres, both fiction and non-fiction. It was a night of good food, good wine and good conversation. Oh, and my tearful acceptance of a Silver Medal for The Oath.
If you are a veteran who writes (or is thinking about writing), or a non-veteran, but who writes about things “military,” then I urge you to find out what the MSWA offers by clicking here: mwsadispatches.com. As we like to say, we’re “SAVING HISTORY ONE STORY AT A TIME.”